JAN. 15: Contact between the two sides has been “minimal” to this point, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. There is, of course, the possibility that talks will pick up steam in the days/weeks to come.
JAN. 14: The Blue Jays have carried interest in right-hander Yovani Gallardo throughout free agency, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), and the team has been in contact with Gallardo’s camp this week, he adds. As Nicholson-Smith further tweets, club president Mark Shapiro said just yesterday that Gallardo is “the kind of guy” that could help Toronto, although as Nicholson-Smith also notes, questions remain about the Jays’ willingness to spend and to part with the necessary draft pick to sign Gallardo.
For context, Shapiro’s exact words when asked about Gallardo (in an appearance with Bob McCown and Arash Madani on 590 The Fan) were as follows: “He’s the kind of guy that would make us better. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to have. Whether or not, from a resource perspective, we still have enough to make a move like that — that’s still a variable that exists, but we do have some flexibility still. Thinking about how we use those resources is still a question.” Asked about the draft pick attached to Gallardo, Shapiro said it is indeed a factor, but not one that would immediately close the door on a deal. Shapiro called the draft pick forfeiture a “premium you’re paying on top of the salary.”
While Shapiro is understandably vague when prompted about Gallardo specifically, it’s telling that the Jays have at least reached out to his representatives at Octagon quite recently. Toronto would seem to have a somewhat full rotation picture, on paper, though as Shapiro noted in the interview, a team is fortunate if it can get through a 162-game season only needing to rely on seven or eight starters, adding that often, more arms are necessary. So, while R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez and Drew Hutchison are all in the mix– to say nothing of Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna, who spent 2015 in the bullpen but were starters in the minors — there’s certainly room for more.
The question, then, as both Nicholson-Smith and Shapiro implied, is where exactly Gallardo’s asking price lies at this juncture. Toronto already has $95.75MM committed to the 2016 payroll, and that doesn’t include what currently projects to be Major League Baseball’s third-most expensive class of arbitration eligible players. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz pegged the Blue Jays’ arb class at $36MM in combined salaries — much of that coming from Josh Donaldson and newly acquired Drew Storen. And, while the Jays are reportedly receiving some cash considerations in the Storen trade as a means to offset the difference between his salary and that of Ben Revere, that sum shouldn’t total much more than $2MM (by MLBTR projections, it’d be $2.1MM). Those sums alone would bring Toronto to around $129.6MM in total payroll, not including league-minimum players to round out the roster and other expenses. It’s not unreasonable, then, to envision a scenario where the roster, as currently constructed, approaches or equals last year’s end-of-season payroll of $135MM.
As a result, the Blue Jays might need to get a bit creative if they’re to bring Gallardo into the fold. A backloaded contract would be one means of limiting the strain on 2016 payroll, and trading away another piece with a guaranteed salary or a notable arbitration projection could be another means of fitting Gallardo into the 2016 budget.
Of course, the Blue Jays will have competition for Gallardo’s services. The right-hander is one of the more desirable arms left on the free-agent market and has been connected to clubs such as the Royals, Orioles and Astros of late, although Jon Heyman reported yesterday (Twitter link) that the Astros were more focused on Ian Kennedy, leaving the Orioles and Royals as Gallardo’s primary suitors at the moment. While there’s no way to gauge the extent of Toronto’s interest, and the draft pick forfeiture/salary requirements do seem to make the Blue Jays a long shot, they seemingly must at least be considered on the periphery of the Gallardo market for the time being.
Now we know why they leaked that Dickey was available.
Revere is expected to get $6.7M on arbitration as compared to $8.8M that Storen is expected to get. If that’s the case then wouldn’t there be a payment of only $1.05M required to be paid to Jays. That’s half the difference and in such a scenario each team would be paying $7.75M. I think that’s the calculation.
Ive been saying gallardo would be a perfect fit the entire time.
This is great news and if it happens I’m sure Dickey will be unloaded for a previous draft 1st round type prospect to make up for the loss of the pick.
This article is perfect. Any Jays fans who can’t understand why the team hasn’t signed a true ace, elite bullpen option or a good leadoff/centerfield option should note the middle paragraphs. The Jays simply don’t have enough money to sign guys in the offseason without compromising any potential flexibility during the season.
Except that with the Shapiro regime mid-season trades are much more unlikely. Typically mid-season trades require prospects much like how the Jays operated during 2015. That’s probably not happening as we are quite thin at the AA to AAA level. However what they are trying to accomplish now is to map out all the “if” scenarios and build up depth so that internal options can negate any need for mid season trades.
They have the money. They choose not to use it.
Don’t see us winning any offer to Gallardo due to other teams still being in the mix. I’d rather go with what we’ve got and not surrender a draft pick but I do like how he pitched against us in the post-season and the ground balls he was getting.
The Blue Jays could spend much more money if their ownership chose to do so. The Jays owners paid over a billion dollars for Hockey Night in Canada TV rights. However, Rogers has not been inclined to spend a ton of money in free agency. As a Jays fan, I would gladly take Gallardo. I don’t trust Hutchison or Chavez in the rotation. Hutchison struggled mightly last season & Chavez struggled at time in a pitcher’s park in Oakland. The Rogers Centre is a hitter’s park. Gallardo is a big upgrade over either of Hutchison or Chavez. It also allows Sanchez & Osuna to both stay in the bullpen which makes the pen stronger
If Toronto is pressed for money, I think a better move would be trading dickey for a guy like hochever (I seen this trade thrown out there, probs an overpay by KC though). Then sign Doug Fister for 6-8 million
The thing that I don’t understand is that the ownership of the Jays has not committed the funds needed to truly compete in a very competitive division for many years. In Anthopoulos’s last year here he made blockbuster moves at the trade deadline to make the team competitive by deliberately operating below budget for half the year and then making up the difference in the latter half. The resulting run to the playoffs led to a deluge of support in a city and country starved of a championship caliber team to support. Ownership should take that lesson to heart and give the team the financial support it needs . It will find that it will be well rewarded for doing so.
Can’t say I understand their interest. He wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over anyone in their rotation. Sure his ERA was 3.40 last year, but his FIP was 4.00, and his K/rate is way down from a few years ago. If it was just money, that would be one thing, but to give up a draft pick also? I don’t get it.